Former recruiter sues Google, says white and Asian candidates were 'purged'

04 March, 2018, 05:04 | Author: Sergio Cook
  • Image source Neon Tommy via Flickr

According to claims made in a lawsuit filed by a former recruiter for Google's YouTube video site, the company instructed staff to stop hiring white and Asian men previous year in an attempt to improve corporate diversity.

Wilberg's lawsuit alleges that he faced discrimination from Google over his sex and race and retaliated against his complaints by firing him, violating antidiscrimination laws in the process.

Arne Wilberg, who worked at Google and its YouTube unit for about nine years both as a contractor and an employee, claims he was terminated in retaliation for complaining to human resources about the company's hiring practices.

"We have a clear policy to hire candidates based on their merit, not their identity", a Google spokesperson said.

"In response to Wilberg's complaints and warnings Google would occasionally circulate e-mails instructing its employees (to) purge any and all references to the race/gender quotas from its e-mail database.to wipe out any paper trail of Google's illegal practices", according to his lawsuit.

Wilberg, who spent nine years at Google before he was sacked last November, worked as a YouTube recruiter for four years.

To help prove his allegations, Wilberg included a screenshot of a Google tracking system - which was subsequently deleted - that kept track of candidates' gender and race, pointing out that the company had not reached their goals in respect to hiring female, black and Latinx candidates.

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According to the lawsuit, Wilberg's attempt to raise the issue of quotas did not go unnoticed. The former employee says he was sacked in late 2017, after complaining about its hiring policies.

Wilberg's lawsuit is the latest legal attack on Google and its workplace culture. One person allegedly "complained that managers were speaking about blacks like they were objects".

He also alleges Google subjected him "to unsubstantiated performance reviews, performance criticisms and [terminated] his employment". Many have adopted policies and programs created to encourage more balanced hiring, not only to right past discrimination but for their own economic advantage: According to management consultancy McKinsey, diverse companies deliver better financial results.

The lawsuit follows a similar action by James Damore, a former Google engineer who rose to prominence after sending an internal memo criticizing Google's diversity practices and defending the gender gap. Google denies that its salaries are discriminatory.

Finally, a Department of Labor official has also accused Google of practicing "systemic" discrimination against female employees.

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